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Gary Ross
Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Writing Credits:
Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray

Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games, a televised competition in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to fight to the death.

Box Office:
$78 million.
Opening Weekend
$152,535,747 on 4137 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English Dolby Atmos
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 143 min.
Price: $22.99
Release Date: 11/8/2016

• Audio Commentary with Editor Stephen Mirrione, Visual Effects Supervisor Sheena Duggal and Supervising Sound Editor Lon Bender
• “Game Maker” Featurette
• “The World Is Watching” Documentary
• “Letters from the Rose Garden” Featurette
• Previews
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Hunger Games [4K UHD] (2012)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 10, 2024)

Prior to 2012, Jennifer Lawrence stood as an actor on the rise. She’d already earned an Oscar nomination for 2010’s indie Winter’s Bone, and 2011’s X-Men: First Class brought her a strong supporting role in a big action blockbuster.

2012’s The Hunger Games took Lawrence to the next level, as here she got the lead in a major movie. With a relatively modest $78 million budget, the flick grossed nearly $700 million worldwide and established Lawrence as a top-line star.

Based on Suzanne Collins’ novel, Games takes us to Panem, a nation in North America. Set in a post-apocalyptic future, Panem consists of a Capitol and 12 districts.

Every year, two young people from each district get selected by lottery to participate in the “Hunger Games”, a brutal contest. These require players to fight to the death, with only one survivor allowed.

In District 12, young Primrose Everdeen (Willow Shields) gets selected, but her teenaged sister Katniss (Lawrence) volunteers to take her place. This sends Katniss on a life or death journey as she fights through the Hunger Games.

Along with the Twilight flicks, the Hunger Games series acted as the cinematic pinnacle of the “Young Adult” (YA) genre, though it seems incorrect to formally call this a “genre”. YA just means works intended for an audience in the 12-18 range, and these tales can encompass all sorts of topics and themes.

In terms of movies, those, the most visible YA focused on fantasy and action like Twilight and Games, with the latter probably the more influential of the two. In the aftermath of this film’s success, we saw plenty of similar dystopian flicks, all of which reached varying levels of success.

But none approached the profits of Games and its three sequels. Was this because the Games series started first or because its films simply worked better?

Probably both, I’d surmise. It didn’t hurt that Games reached screens before similar flicks like Divergent and Maze Runner, but it also offered a higher quality affair.

Somewhat, at least, as I don’t think Games turns into a classic. When I saw Games theatrically in 2012, I found it moderately engaging, but I can’t say it did a lot for me.

Some of that may have stemmed from hype. By the time I watched Game, it’d already become a surprise smash, so I likely went into it with semi-high expectations.

Seeing it again, I do so without that same sense of anticipation, but the movie doesn’t develop into anything more memorable. In 2024 as I felt in 2012, Game brings a decent action experience but not one that truly impresses.

Lawrence’s presence helps, as she creates a credible action hero. She adds depth to Katniss one wouldn’t expect from a source like this and helps ground the flick.

A nice supporting cast supports her, mainly via the adults on board. We find a slew of talents like Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland and others, all of whom add a layer of class to the proceedings.

At 142 minutes, Games feels like it should run long, but it actually moves at a fairly good pace. Though the titular competition doesn’t launch until the film’s midway point, the film fills that opening hour-plus with good character information and enough intrigue to maintain our attention.

Matters amplify once the battle commences, and the movie manages to great a fairly positive view of these affairs. Some of this may lack the desired drama – mainly because we know Katniss will survive – but we find enough uncertainty to carry the day.

With all those positives, why do I still see Games as a decent but not great movie? Because it never really engages the audience as well as it should.

Sure, I think it moves well enough and gives us some compelling action, but these elements never quite rise above the level of “pretty good”. Games simply lacks a certain spark and drive that might make it a great adventure.

Director Gary Ross’s affection for handheld photography doesn’t help. Good Lord, does Games come packed with tons of shakycam!

While not Cloverfield literally-make-me-nauseated levels, the jerky visuals become a distraction. These choices don’t add urgency to the film, as instead, they simply render the action semi-incomprehensible at times.

The movie’s ham-fisted social message gets a little much at times, too. Though not as eyerolling as the commentary for Ross’s Pleasantville, these elements can seem awfully on the nose.

All of this leaves Hunger Games as a moderately engaging effort. While I don’t see it as a really memorable action flick, at the very least it becomes a mostly involving tale.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio A-/ Bonus B+

The Hunger Games appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. For the most part, this became a satisfactory presentation.

Overall sharpness seemed appealing. Occasional wide shots felt a smidgen soft, but those failed to pop up with any frequency, so the majority of the flick brought solid accuracy.

I saw no signs of jagged edges or moiré effects, and the movie lacked edge haloes. No print flaws appeared either, and grain felt natural.

Most of the movie opted for a semi-dingy teal sensibility to lack the grim circumstances, but the scenes in the Capitol conveyed brighter tones. All felt accurately represented in terms of the desired production choices, and HDR gave the colors extra punch.

Blacks worked fine, while shadows seemed well-rendered and smooth. HDR brought added impact to whites and contrast. All in all, the image seemed very good.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the movie’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack excelled. With plenty of action on display, the soundscape earned many chances to shine.

It filled out the various channels in an active, involving manner that placed the viewer within the spectrum. Different components showed up in appropriate spots and moved/meshed well to form a solid sense of place.

In addition, audio quality excelled. Speech remained distinctive and natural, while music showed good range and clarity.

Effects fared best, as they seemed accurate and dynamic. The soundtrack fit the film and added to the experience.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? The Atmos track added a little range to the audio.

As for the 4K’s visuals, they boasted mild improvements in sharpness but brought more obvious growth in terms of colors, blacks and general stability. Because Hunger Games came from a 2K source, it didn’t blow away the Blu-ray, but it turned into the more satisfying rendition.

When we move to extras, we find an audio commentary from editor Stephen Mirrione, visual effects supervisor Sheena Duggal and supervising sound editor Lon Bender. Created for the 4K, all three sit together for a running, screen-specific look at their particular domains.

Of course, they spread beyond those topics at times, so we get a little added info about the production. Nonetheless, the majority of the track concentrates on editing, effects and audio.

Which seems fine, even though it leads to a somewhat dry discussion. We get a good view of the participants’ work, however.

Also found on the Blu-ray, a documentary called The World Is Watching follows. It runs two hours, two minutes and includes comments from writer/director Gary Ross, Lionsgate President of Production Alli Shearmur, producers John Kilik and Nina Jacobson, publisher David Levithan, writer Billy Ray, casting director Debra Zane, costume designer Judianna Makovsky, makeup designer Ve Neill, VFX supervisor Sheena Duggal, production designer Philip Messina, stunt coordinator Chad Stahelski, executive producer Robin Bissell, additional VFX supervisor Scott Farrar, editor Stephen Mirrione, sound designer Lon Bender, reviewer Drew McWeeny, and actors Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Isabelle Fuhrmann, Alexander Ludwig, Dayo Okeniyi, Wes Bentley, Leven Rambin, Jack Quaid, Jacqueline Emerson, Willow Shields, and Amandla Stenberg.

“World” covers the source novel and its adaptation, story/characters, photography and storyboards, cast and performances, makeup and costumes, concept design and effects, set design, stunts, weapons and action, locations, editing, music and sound, and the movie’s release.

With more than two hours at its disposal, “World” offers plenty of room for information related to the film. More of this leans toward happy talk than I might prefer, but “World” still presents more than enough useful material to work well.

Two featurettes follow. We find “Game Maker” (14:15) and “Letters from the Rose Garden” (9:08).

In “Game”, we hear from Banks, McWeeny, Emerson, Sutherland, Shearmur, Jacobson, publisher David Levithan, reviewers Amanda Belcher, Megan Scott, and Pauline Hughes,English teachers Sarah Wolf and Joe Koetters, school administrator Barbara Wagner, high school student Samantha Newby, and co-producer Bryan Unkeless.

"Game" looks at the YA genre as well as the development and success of the Hunger Games novels and their adaptation into films. A few insights emerge but the featurette largely feels fluffy.

“Letters” features Sutherland and Ross, as we get notes about Sutherland's reaction to the project and his written notes on his character. This becomes a reasonably interesting view of his initial thoughts.

Back in 2012, The Hunger Games became a massive hit, one that launched Jennifer Lawrence toward super-stardom. I can’t say the movie impresses greatly, but it provides a fairly engaging action-adventure. The 4K UHD brings strong picture and audio as well as a useful roster of bonus materials. I don’t think Games excels, but it becomes a moderately entertaining effort.

Note that this version of Hunger Games can be purchased on its own or as part of a 4-film compilation that also includes its three sequels. The edition linked in this review goes to a 2023 Wal-Mart steelbook exclusive that gives the set unique packaging.

To rate this film visit the prior review of HUNGER GAMES

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